SSD Inside the GPU? Introducing the ASUS Concept Graphics Card With Integrated M.2 Slot
On June 30, 2023, Tony Yu, the General Manager of ASUS China, showcased a concept graphics card with an integrated M.2 slot for technology enthusiasts on Bilibili. This concept graphics card, developed from a practical consumer perspective, follows ASUS' previous release of the "no power cables" concept graphics card in May.
The concept card selected the DUAL RTX 4060Ti as the prototype for development. It is a compact 40 series graphics card with a dual-fan design capable of handling the slightly over 100W TDP of this model. With a 2.5-slot design and a length of 22.7cm, it can easily fit into mainstream-sized PC cases. The front of the concept graphics card is indistinguishable from a regular graphics card. Now let's take a look at the back.
Turning it over, you can see that the full-cover metal backplate has a separate compartment next to the 8-pin power connector, which opens up to reveal an M.2 expansion slot.
Once opened, you can see that a 2TB 980 Pro ssd has already been installed.
From another angle, after removing the M.2 cover, the M.2 slot follows an M-Key design with a reverse socket. When installed, the ssd's chips face the side with the heatsink fins and the fan.
Through the teardown, it can be observed that the graphics card's heatsink makes direct contact with the ssd chips using thermal silicone pads, allowing the large graphics card heatsink to dissipate heat actively through the fan. This innovative cooling solution could ensures efficient heat transfer, maintaining optimal temperatures for both the graphics card and the M.2 ssd.
The M.2 slots for the ordinary motherboard are usually located below the motherboard, near the CPU socket, or next to the graphics card. When installing or adding an M.2 ssd, it is often necessary to remove the graphics card and maneuver at difficult angles, which can be quite cumbersome. With this special ASUS graphics card, the backside is designed with an M.2 slot, allowing users to install or add an M.2 ssd without removing the graphics card, enabling straightforward operations.
Through the PCIe Bifurcation feature on the motherboard, the PCIe x16 slot is divided into two PCIe x8 slots, with each bandwidth allocated to the graphics card and the M.2 ssd. As Nvidia limits the PCIe bandwidth for entry-level graphics cards like the RTX 4060 and RTX 4060Ti from 16X to 8X, the performance of this graphics card is not affected by the split in the PCI Express .
The graphics card's M.2 slot connected directly to the CPU, whereas some motherboard M.2 slots transfer data via the PCH channel. Testing revealed that the M.2 SSD installed on the graphics card has faster read and write speeds compared to the motherboard's M.2 slots, as demonstrated by the 4K Q1T1 and 4K Q32T16 data, which have a significant impact on smooth operations.
Some readers might be concerned about whether the contact between the ssd and the graphics card heatsink would transfer heat to the solid-state drive. Rest assured, let the temperature tests provide the answer. After reaching equilibrium during Furmark stress testing, the graphics card temperature was 62°C, while the ssd temperature was 42°C. In comparison, ordinary motherboard M.2 slots rely on passive cooling, and during graphics card stress testing, the M.2 ssd on the motherboard rapidly heats up, reaching temperatures of 50-60°C or even higher. This demonstrates the superior heat dissipation of the graphics card's M.2 ssd.
Summary of ChargerLAB
In conclusion, ASUS has once again demonstrated their commitment to innovation and practicality with the introduction of a concept graphics card featuring an integrated M.2 slot. This unique design allows for easy installation and expansion of M.2 solid-state drives without the need to remove the graphics card. With efficient heat dissipation and impressive performance, this concept graphics card offers a compelling solution for tech enthusiasts seeking convenience and enhanced functionality. ASUS continues to push boundaries and cater to the evolving needs of consumers, solidifying their position as a leading player in the technology industry.
Currently, this graphics card remains in the concept stage, and it is hoped that in the future, it can enter mass production alongside the hidden connector concept motherboard and the "wireless" concept graphics card, bringing fresh innovation to the PC DIY market.
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